Both verbs of "hallen" and "widerhallen" mean echo. Is there any difference?

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    Linguee.de translated hallen as resound and widerhallen as echo/resound, but I am not sure if resound means something different as echo....
    – Iris
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 18:07
  • Did you check a dictionary? If yes, please state why it didn’t help you. If not, please do so and edit accordingly.
    – Jan
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 22:19

3 Answers 3


From intuition, I would say that there might be a tiny difference in usage in that “widerhallen” puts a slight emphasis on the sound coming back from an object (“wider-” always means something along the lines of “back”, “against”,…), whereas “hallen” is used more generally.

Another way to put it: I would translate “hallen” as “to echo” and “widerhallen” as “to echo back”.


In general, hallen and widerhallen can be treated as synonyms. However, widerhallen is more precise when you talking about an actual echo, so a sound which is returned by an object. Hall - the noun of hallen - can also the mean the characteristic of a sound, which sounds "doubled" due to its being echoed from the surrounding objects.

Additionally, Hall or hallen is significantly more popular than Widerhall, as Google Ngram also shows here.

Personally, I would advise using Hall and hallen.

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    Please consider meta.german.stackexchange.com/questions/554/…
    – Carsten S
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 18:22
  • I disagree. Hallen and Widerhallen are not synonyms. Example: Ihr Schrei hallte durch die Straßen and Ihr Schrei hallte durch die Straßen wider. The latter is not possible and would be put as Ihr Schrei hallte in den Straßen wider. Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 7:13

Hallen can be used in the same contexts as schallen (to sound). Widerhallen has the connotation that the sound is being echoed by some other object.

They can not always be exchanged and thus are not synonyms. An example where they can not be used synonymously would be:

Der Gesang tausender Fans hallte durch das Stadion.
Der Gesang tausender Fans hallte durch das Stadion wider (<= doesn't work)
Der Gesang tausender Fans widerhallte durch das Stadion (<= doesn't work either)

Instead of the latter you could say

Der Gesang tausender Fans hallte im Stadion wider.
Der Gesang tausender Fans hallte von den Rängen des Stadions wider.
Das Stadion widerhallte vom Gesang tausender Fans.

Also, hallen can be used in a way that makes clear that a room or place adds a lot of delay to the sound (which doesn't necessary imply an echo/Widerhall).

Ein hallender Flur.
In der Kirche hallt es ganz schön.

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